Some lifestyle changes and natural treatments may slow down or prevent a person’s osteoporosis. However, a doctor will typically recommend lifestyle changes in addition to medication.

Osteoporosis treatment aims to slow down or stop the bone loss that leads to breaks. Certain natural remedies and lifestyle changes may help to prevent osteoporosis from developing or slow down the progression of the condition.

This article discusses how to treat osteoporosis without medication, which natural treatments may help, and when a doctor will recommend medical treatments.

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Lifestyle choices can both help prevent and treat a person’s osteoporosis. However, a person may not be able to treat their osteoporosis with lifestyle changes alone. Such changes may not be enough if they have lost too much bone density.

Doctors may recommend lifestyle changes for osteoporosis in addition to medication. They will recommend whether a person can treat osteoporosis without it based on their:

  • age
  • sex
  • general health
  • the amount of bone density they have lost

Some natural treatments that help osteoporosis include the following:

Physical activity

Doctors recommend weight-bearing exercises or physical activity to treat osteoporosis, such as brisk walking or jogging.

They also encourage exercise that improves balance, such as yoga and tai chi.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), good physical activities for bone health also include strength or resistance training.

Learn more about physical exercises for osteoporosis.

Quitting smoking and drinking

Doctors recommend people with osteoporosis stop drinking alcohol. However, the NIAMS suggests people can drink alcohol in moderation. They recommend no more than 1 drink per day for people assigned female at birth or no more than 2 drinks per day for people assigned male at birth.

A doctor may also recommend that a person quits smoking cigarettes where applicable, as nicotine can cause the body to lose more bone than usual.

NIAMS also recommends avoiding secondhand smoke.


Consuming a balanced diet is an important part of treating osteoporosis. In a 2020 study, scientists investigated nutritional and dietary patterns related to osteoporosis. They concluded people could reduce their osteoporosis risk with a diet that included:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • poultry
  • fish
  • nuts and legumes
  • low fat dairy products

They also concluded people could gain bone health benefits from avoiding processed food products.

A doctor can refer a person to a dietitian to help them create a suitable eating plan.

Learn more about foods to eat and avoid with osteoporosis.

Calcium and vitamin D

Doctors recommend people with osteoporosis intake calcium and vitamin D3. Both calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients for preventing and treating osteoporosis.

Calcium helps a person with osteoporosis keep their bones strong. A person’s body cannot make calcium. Instead, it must absorb it from food. Vitamin D helps a person’s body absorb calcium efficiently.

People can eat certain foods to ensure they get enough calcium, including:

  • low fat dairy products
  • dark leafy green vegetables, such as:
    • bok choy
    • collards
    • turnip greens
    • broccoli
  • some fish, such as sardines and salmon
  • calcium-fortified foods such as
    • soy milk
    • tofu
    • orange juice
    • cereals
    • bread

Foods that contain good sources of vitamin D include:

Doctors use a person’s T-score to measure their bone mass. A T-score compares a person’s bone density to that of a healthy young adult. If a person has a T-score of less than -2.5, doctors may recommend medical treatment for their osteoporosis.

Medical treatments for osteoporosis include:

  • calcitonin
  • bisphosphonates
  • estrogen agonist/antagonists, also known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) and tissue-selective estrogen complex (TSEC)
  • estrogen and hormone therapy
  • parathyroid hormone (PTH) analog and parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP)
  • RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitors
  • sclerostin inhibitors

Learn more about osteoporosis medications.

Here are some more frequently asked questions about osteoporosis treatments.

Can you reverse osteoporosis without medication?

There is no cure for osteoporosis. People cannot normally reverse it with medication or other treatments.

What is the best natural treatment for osteoporosis?

There is no clear answer from medical professionals on which natural treatment is best for osteoporosis. The best natural treatment will depend on the individual. Healthcare providers can advise on which treatments they recommend based on an individual’s circumstances.

What happens if you don’t take medication for osteoporosis?

A 2017 study into the reasons why people might not take recommended osteoporosis medication points out that osteoporosis medication can reduce the risk of fractures. This means that not taking medication for osteoporosis may increase a person’s risk for fractures.

It is possible for people to treat or prevent osteoporosis without medication in some cases. If a person’s osteoporosis has not caused too much bone loss, lifestyle changes can help prevent osteoporosis bone breaks. These changes include exercise, nutrition, and stopping smoking and drinking.

However, people with osteoporosis will generally need medication treatments. Treating osteoporosis with lifestyle changes alone may increase a person’s risk of bone fractures.